Pin It
Favorite

Book Review 

by Azita Osanloo & r & Walking It Off by Doug Peacock & r & Doug Peacock, a Vietnam vet and former Green Beret medic who now resides in Livingston, Mont., is known for his environmental radicalism, his work with grizzly bears and, perhaps most of all, for his difficult and profound friendship with Edward Abbey, who used Peacock as the model for George Washington Hayduke, a protagonist in Abbey's most famous novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975).


Undoubtedly, the friendship between Peacock and Abbey will draw readers to Peacock's new memoir, Walking It Off: A Veteran's Chronicle of War and Wilderness. Indeed, the book is a kind of ode to Abbey. After Abbey's death, Peacock explains, he and three other companions drove to Arizona's Cabeza Prieta desert with Abbey's body and secretly buried him, illegally transporting a body that had not been officially certified as dead and trespassing without permits onto land where it is illegal to inter bodies. Despite the urgency and unlawfulness of the task, however, Peacock took a moment to lay in the freshly dug grave before lowering Abbey's body into it. He wanted to check the view: "bronze patina of boulder behind limb of palo verde and turquoise sky beyond branch of torote; then receiving a sign -- seven buzzards soaring above joined by three others, now all 10 banking over the volcanic rubble and riding the thermal up the flank of the mountain, gliding out and over the distant valley."


Despite the dominant image of Abbey -- ghostly and otherwise -- throughout much of the book, Walking It Off is a memoir that belongs thoroughly to its author. Peacock comes to terms with the personal loves and demons that have marked his adult life, including his love for bears and the wilderness, his experiences during the Vietnam War and the maddening Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that followed and, of course, the origin and complexities of his friendship with Abbey -- their mutual passion for the environment and their evident disdain for the developers who threaten it.


There are times when Walking It Off appears structurally incoherent. Is this a book about friendship? A book about a midlife crisis? In trying to measure (and perhaps gain distance from) his experiences, Peacock seems to be walking them off as much for himself as for his readers.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event

Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event @ Hillyard Library

Tue., Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Comment


Briefs


marijuana


Publisher's Note


Business


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation